Booking Your Hotel
Finding a good hotel is much easier than finding a good flight.
The process is to search as many sites as you can. Usually they all have the same hotels at the same prices, but differences can be found.
The most popular sites in no particular order:
- Agoda better for asia
For Japan also look at Rakuten Travel. It has many hotels not found in the major booking sites.
After you chose your hotel look at the price on their site if they're part of a chain. Recently hotel chains started increasing the benefits they offer to people that book directly instead thru agents and booking sites.
You can call or email the hotel before booking to see if they offer any benefit if you book directly with them. Logic is that if they don't have to pay commission to the booking site they can pass some of the savings to you. The results of this tactic vary. But you have nothing to lose, just a bit of time.
When to book
Hotel pricing is not as dynamic as flight pricing. It follows a simple logic. Prices increases as you get closer to check in date and the hotel is filling up, then prices decrease close to checkin date if the hotel is empty.
So the general rule is to book as early as possible.
Other tips and tricks are:
- In high season book as soon as possible
- During public holidays book as soon as possible
- Some destinations are always in high demand. The good and cheap hotels will be booked many weeks in advance, leaving only the bad and expensive hotels for those that don't plan ahead. Example of these destinations are: Paris, London, Venice, Rome, New York, San Franscisco, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Hong Kong, Sydney. So for these cities always book as soon as possible
- Business hotels have cheaper rates during the weekend. But they tend to be located away from tourist areas. Check if the extra transportation cost and time is worth the savings
- 4 stars hotels and the pricier 3 start hotels usually drop their rates one or two days before checkin date if they're empty. This brings their price in line with cheaper 3 star hotels
- In some countries in Asia, hotels' star ratings don't reflect the quality of the hotel as well as in Europe and North America. So make sure your search filters are not too narrow
- If your destination is popular with packaged tourism/resorts look at flight+accommodation options at the booking sites. Good deals can be found
- If booking for a large group beware of hotel policies. For large groups is worth to get a quote from a traditional travel agent